Posted in Book Reviews, Homeschooling

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Marvelous Makeable Monsters: Sam Haynor


SYNOPSIS:What can a makeable monster do? They motor, inflate, wobble, drool, soar, and one can even do push-ups. Add a pair of wings, subtract a tentacle… The best thing about these monsters is that they’re part experiment, part imagination, and 100% customizable. Author Sam Haynor draws on his experience with the San Francisco Exploratorium, Oakland Toy Lab, GoldieBlox, and designing STEAM curriculum to create projects packed with fun features.
On sale October 9.
MY THOUGHTS: There is so much to love about this book. First, its author. Sam Haynor is a STEAM curriculum builder. Who better to give homeschoolers STEA advice?! There are 21 experiments! That’s a lot of STEAM material for your classrooms. If utilized in a daily format, that’s 21 days of STEAM lessons. Plus, you could mix and match your classes. Science & art for example.
These are safe projects. Independent workers can spend their time exploring STEAM concepts while working alone. Younger kids may need a little assistance, but, they will be using independent working skills like their older counterparts. Or team up 2 students for a leadership/team building exercise. But, don’t forget the FUN!

If you aren’t a homeschooler, this book can still apply to you. There’s no reason a brick and mortar student couldn’t benefit from these projects. Perhaps with a Science Fair approaching or a rainy weekend. I applaud any project that doesn’t involve iPhones or having to take a bank loan for pieces to build it!

Sam Haynor has done a fantastic job keeping tabs on the quickly evolving STEAM system. Take advantage of the knowledge he’s acquired and invest in a book you’ll use for years to come!

US MSRP $17.99 https://www.amazon.com/Marvelous-Makeable-Monsters-Projects-Occasionally/dp/0760361010
https://www.facebook.com/QuartoKids/
*I received the aforementioned title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.
**Pics & Synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher.

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Posted in Arts/Crafts/Hobbies, Book Reviews, Homeschool Lessons, Homeschooling

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Creative Adventures in Cursive: Rachelle Doorley

SYNOPSIS: Who knew handwriting could be so cool? Write with glue, string, markers, paint, and icing and develop a signature cursive style with TinkerLab’s Rachelle Doorley in Creative Adventures in Cursive!

Where has this book been all my life? From the moment I opened the first pages and saw the cursive warm-up doodles, I wanted to be a kid again.
Barbara Rucci, Art Educator, Founder of Art Bar, and Author of Art Workshop for Children: How to Foster Original Thinking with more than 25 Process Art Experiences

Creative Adventures in Cursive gives kids of all ages ideas for practicing writing skills, then guides them into cursive creativity. Doorley has concocted 22 fun and colorful ways to use script to make posters, present school projects, design monograms, create greeting cards, decorate book bags and t-shirts, ice cookies and cakes — writing in script with everything, including fabric markers, pastry tubes, string and yarn, and of course brushes, pens, and crayons. And as educators will attest, writing in cursive provides cognitive benefits in spelling, memory, reading comprehension, language skills, and overall academic confidence. Practicing cursive carries similar benefits when drawing; once you learn the basic shapes, you can play with it by creating your own personal style. Cursive is a wonderful means of self-expression and an essential form of communication—don’t let it be forgotten!

This guide to joyful handwriting takes the curse out of cursive and reconnects young writers’ hands with their eyes and minds. […] The nearly lost art of handwriting is recovered here with countless activities and exercises designed to excite and engage young learners.
Steve Seidel, Director of the Arts in Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

About the Author:

Rachelle Doorley is an arts educator, community builder, and founder of the popular creativity blog TinkerLab. She is also the author of TinkerLab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors, published by Roost in 2014. Rachelle studied costume design at the University of California, Los Angeles, and worked on Hollywood films before finding her true calling as an arts educator. After teaching elementary and middle school art, she earned a master’s in arts education from Harvard, and then oversaw museum-based and education programs in Massachussets and California. Rachelle lives with her family in the beautiful San Francisco Bay area, where she teaches art, visual thinking, and creativity. She enjoys her sketchbooks, taking her kids on adventures, good friends, kawaii drawings, breakfast, hand-drawn letters, hikes in the woods, and ocean air.

MY THOUGHTS: Cursive writing is fast becoming an art like calligraphy. Most curriculums, that I am aware of anyway, aren’t including it. But, honestly, it is a beautiful form of writing. I love the idea of utilizing it to make special creations. Sending greeting cards is also becoming a lost form of communication so I love the included activity of making cards featuring cursive.

This is the ideal, rainy/snowy day book of activities. Any one of the designs can be altered to accommodate even the littlest hands and who doesn’t love homemade gifts? If you are looking for ways to incorporate cursive writing or fun, mess-free art classes into your homeschool day, gift yourself a copy of this book. These are also ideal, inexpensive Sunday School/VBS projects. Suggest a copy to your Children’s Minister, too.

I highly recommend it for its fresh ideas and ease of use. 5 stars.

Posted in Book Reviews, Homeschooling

Book Spotlight: Educational Disobedience By Dr. Annise Mabry

Educational Disobedience
By Dr. Annise Mabry
Genre: Education, Self-Help, Homeschooling

Book Description

In “Educational Disobedience,” educationist, Dr. Annise Mabry, offers a compelling, unique and refreshing insight into how she helps her children overcome the limitations of what she terms “a broken education system,” in the State of Georgia. Her decision to homeschool them were borne largely due to the fact that they were not receiving the best of education, and more because protection from the unending problem of bullying in public schools was lacking. She soon realized that only a crucial intervention could save her family from falling apart, and it was a decision that proved timely because not only did she achieve her objectives, but she also ended up saving her community! She has helped many parents to transform their children from struggling students to homeschool high school graduates!
This isn’t the guide for how to homeschool–it’s the story of survival because of homeschool.

About the Author

Dr. Annise Mabry is a homeschool mom, radio host, motivational speaker, and online professor. Dr. Mabry’s enthusiastic, high quality, content packed speeches and presentations have a down to earth feel that leaves her audiences with the feeling that they have known her forever.

Dr. Mabry is a civic entrepreneur. She is the President of The Dr. Annise Mabry Foundation and the Executive Director of Tiers Free Academy. She witnessed the impact that one person can make in a family’s life and her mantra is “Your vibe attracts your tribe.” Prior to her retirement from the Dean of Graduate Studies, Dr. Mabry was a founding partner of Mabry Investigations, a private detective agency and is currently the owner of the Back2Us Radio Network.

She is a Georgia Certified Peace Officer and E-911 Dispatcher, holds a B.A. in Mass Communications, a post master’s certificate in Juvenile Justice, an M.A.Ed in Adult Education, a M.S. in Criminal Justice, a MBA and a Ph.D. in K-12 Teaching and Learning.

Website: http://drannisemabry.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Dr-Annise-Mabry-181902905844019/
Twitter: @DrAnniseMabry
On Amazon: https://amzn.to/2uOW7DH

Book Excerpt
My daughter’s spirit broke. She became angry at everything and everyone. She was the victim, yet I was telling her to change her behavior as if she were the perpetrator. Even a simple request such as “Please turn the light off” gave way to a major battle with her. All of the rage that my daughter had bottled up on the inside had to come out somewhere, and I bore the brunt of it.
Overnight, she had transformed me in her mind from her greatest ally to her enemy number one. What I also didn’t realize at the time was that her rage from being bullied was transforming everyone in the house. We were all the victims of these middle school bullies.

Posted in Book Reviews, Homeschooling

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Brick Building 101: Courtney Sanchez

All the buzz in educational talk is about STEAM. If you aren’t familiar it stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math. As caregivers, we all know how children learn through play. One toy has stood the test of time, requires no wires and has endless possibilities. Of course, that would be snap-together bricks aka Legos, Duplos, etc.

My sons always thought outside the box, literally, when they had these. We may have bought them in kits (ships, castles, etc.), but my boys always made something different. For children like mine, these 20 activities are perfect.
SYNOPSIS:
Now kids can combine a love for LEGO with learning STEAM topics (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) in this awesomely fun activity book! Industrious minds will love learning to build a bunch of different stuff with these 20 step-by-step projects that range from beginner projects, such as a geoboard and DIY slime, to more challenging projects, such as a bird feeder and balloon racer. Large, full-color photos show each step along the way, with simple instructions and inspiration to extend projects and keep learning. With STEAM learning on the rise, this book is the perfect way to inspire play and interest in the topics kids need to know about!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A stay-at-home mom of three boys, Courtney Sanchez began crafting as way to keep her children stimulated and active. Having time to sit and be creative with children, and to explore using texture, colors and (most importantly) their imagination is a great way to bond and teach at the same time. Her website, Crafts by Courtney (www.craftsbycourtney.com) explores a variety of activities and how-to kids crafts to keep children active and inspired through creative play.

If you have kids who love bricks, give this book a go. Incorporate it into your homeschool curriculum or just have a little fun!
Pic & Synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher.
I RECEIVED THE AFOREMENTONED TITLE IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS ARE MINE.
Brick Building 101
20 LEGO® activities to teach kids about STEAM
$14.95 / £9.99
Author: Courtney Sanchez
Format: Paperback / softback, 80 Pages
ISBN: 9781633225220
Publisher: Walter Foster Jr.
Ages: 5 to 7

Posted in Book Reviews, Homeschooling

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: 2 New Activity Books from Quarto Publishing

The Wild Year Book
Things to do outdoors through the seasons
$14.99 / £9.99
Author: Fiona Danks
Author: Jo Schofield
Format: Paperback / softback, 128 Pages
ISBN: 9780711239265
Publisher: Frances Lincoln
http://bit.ly/WildYearBook
SYNOPSIS:
Adventures, games and crafts to get you outdoors all the year round.
Playing outdoors should be an essential part of growing up; developing your imagination, keeping fit and letting the wild world weave its magic spell on you. In The Wild Year Book, Fiona and Jo have selected 70 of their favourite activities to help you enjoy spending time outdoors, season by season. Perhaps you’ll want to play camouflage games in Spring and make enormous bubbles in the summer, challenge your friends to a foraging bake-off in the autumn, or create ice mobiles in the winter. With this book you will never be short of inspiration!


SYNOPSIS:
My Great Outdoors Book
The Kids’ Guide to Being Outside
$9.99
Author: Josie Jeffery
Illustrated by: Alice Lickens
Format: Paperback / softback, 80 Pages
ISBN: 9781782406051
Publisher: Ivy Kids
http://bit.ly/MyGreatOutdoorsBook
Whether its bug hunting in a city courtyard, counting stars, planting a neat little window box or building a cool woodland hideout, this brilliantly innovative activity book will open eyes to an awesome outdoor playground. Packed with exciting stuff to do, make and discover, the activities are arranged in themed sections, from the garden, the woods, and the shore, through to rainy days, sunny days and night-time. This book is guaranteed to turn any stay-at-home kid (and their family) into an enthusiastic and accomplished outdoor adventurer!

MY THOUGHTS: I absolutely love the premise for these books! Today’s youths are losing childhood opportunities every time a new app or video game is launched. ANYTHING that will get kids moving, thinking, and doing is golden. When we were kids, no one had to tell us to jump in mud puddles or a pile of leaves. But, often times, it’s as if kids have forgotten how to play.

Our authors and Quarto Publishing have done parents a favor by collecting ideas for positive, safe outdoor play. It encourages kids to think outside the box and use their imagination. Going outside shouldn’t be centered around Pokémon Go! As an added bonus, kids will be inadvertently exercising.

Each activity is described in a way that both kids and adults will understand. The illustrations will stir up the imagination so kids can add their own spin on the activity as well. Perhaps seeing your kids outside without a cell phone in hand will encourage neighbor children to engage as well. Spend your family, quality time outside doing fun things and spending real, old-fashioned quality time together. 5 stars for both books.

*I received the aforementioned titles in exchange for a review. All opinions are mine. 

Posted in Arts/Crafts/Hobbies, Book Reviews, Homeschool Lessons, Homeschooling

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Mason Jar Science: Jonathan Adolph

I RECEIVED THE FOLLOWING TITLE IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS ARE MINE.

SYNOPSIS:
Overflowing with 40 dynamic, slimy, and super-cool experiments, this fun guide encourages budding Einsteins ages 8-12 to use a mason jar to explore the wonders of chemistry, botany, biology, physics, and earth science. Mason jars are the perfect containers for all kinds of experiments, and unlike expensive and fragile beakers and cylinders, they are affordable and durable. With a jar as a little lab, readers will learn how to create miniature clouds, tiny tornados, lava lamps, squishy, colorful slime, and much more!
From the kitchen counter to the classroom or science fair, Mason Jar Science will pique a child’s love for scientific exploration and uncover­ing the mysteries of the world — no lab coat required!
MY THOUGHTS: Fantastic! That’s the best way to intro this book- it’s fantastic! If you’re a homeschool parent who has trouble with either a reluctant learner or with coming up with fresh ideas, you’re problem is solved. Even students who dislike the subject of science will love doing these experiments. I’ve yet to meet a kid- boy or girl- who didn’t like things that were ‘squishy’ or ‘slimy’. Let’s be honest: kids love anything messy.

As a mom, what I love most about this book is the wide variety it brings to the classroom. There are so many genres of science covered here. Not to mention 40 experiments! That’s a whole lot of learning in one book! Inexpensive tools, captivating lessons, and non-stop learning- what more could you ask for in a science book? To me, it’s a must-have in your homeschool classroom.

If you’re an educator at a brick-and-mortar school and teaching the 8-12 year old range, then you can absolutely benefit from this book, too. Let’s get kids excited about learning. I have to give this one 5 stars!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jonathan Adolph developed hundreds of “stealth learning” games and kitchen-science activities in his 20-year career as editor of the award-winning FamilyFun magazine. He specializes in making technical information fun for kids and is an adjunct professor of journalism at the University of Massachusetts. He lives with his family in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Mason Jar Science
136 pages; 7″ x 10″
Full-color; photographs and illustrations throughout
$14.95 hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-61212-986-0
Available May 2018
*PIC & SYNOPSIS BELONG SOLELY TO THE AUTHOR/PUBLISHER

Posted in Book Reviews, Homeschooling

Book Spotlight: Warriors in Mr. Lincoln’s Army: Quita V. Shier

I received a copy of the aforementioned title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.
“Warriors in Mr. Lincoln’s Army”
By Quita V. Shier
ISBN: 978-1-5320-2716-1
Available at iUniverse and Amazon
SYNOPSIS: Anyone who has taken a grade-school history class may be able to recall dates and battles from the American Civil War that ended 152 years ago. What those history books probably did not include, was a group of sharpshooters called “Company K.”

Company K was the only company in the First Michigan Sharpshooter Regiment with only indigenous men on its roster.

In “Warriors in Mr. Lincoln’s Army: Native American Soldiers Who Fought in the Civil War,” author Quita V. Shier presents comprehensive profiles of these little-known soldiers, and why they wanted to enlist to fight a war in a country where they were not even recognized as citizens.

“Most stories we read about the Civil War are centered on generals and their experiences,” Shier said. “I’m concerned with the enlisted men, the ‘grunts’, who did the fighting and dying for this country. These are their stories.”

Shier’s book contains the profiles of 140 Native American men of Company K and the company officers, based on military, pension and census records, as well as information and pictures from some of the men’s descendants, including military experience, medical treatments of wounds and diseases, and biographies.

“My grandfather loved to read about American history,” Shier said. “He felt strongly about the Native Americans’ marginal existence in U.S. society and the failure of the treaties that the government did not honor. He asked me to do something for the American Indians and this book is the fulfillment of that promise.”
MY THOUGHTS: As a person with some Native American ancestry, I’m thrilled that an entire book was dedicated to those who are often overlooked. The magnitude of our author’s research and commitment is staggering. This is also one of those cases where a book shouldn’t be judged by the cover. Its exterior may be humble, but, the pages between contain a wealth of information.
While anyone who serves in any type of Armed Forces deserves the utmost respect, students are often taught only about the ‘big name players’ in our nation’s history. Thankfully, author’s such as Ms. Shier, are changing that. As a homeschool mom, I feel good about letting my son read through ‘Warriors’. Here we have credible, little-known history without embellishments or fabrication. There’s no bias here, either. Facts and the author’s fantastic grasp of her subject matter make this a must-have for your home classroom. While most history textbooks are good, I can almost guarantee that they don’t have these 140 proud service members in them.
As an avid reader, I can say that this book, although non-fiction, combines quite a few genres. There’s history, military, Native American heritage- the list goes on. Even if you don’t have a high school age student at home, this book will be just as captivating and enjoyable for adult readers. It isn’t specifically a textbook companion.
I can’t sing its praises enough. I highly recommend it for all readers! 5 stars!
About the author
Quita V. Shier is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University and a resident of Michigan, who has a lifelong interest in American Indian cultures and life ways. She taught a course about Michigan Indian history and culture at Delta College, University Center, and is a frequent guest speaker. She is experienced in archival and family genealogical research, and is a member of the National Society Daughters of the Union 1861-1865. Some of the pictures and stories in her book were supplied by the descendants of the Company K men. For more about Shier or her book, visit: http://www.iuniverse.com.